Legal alerts / 29.06.2020

From 1 October 2020 software applications will be blocked for an infringement of copyright and related rights

From 1 October 2020 Federal law “On amendments to the Federal law “On information, informational technologies and the protection of information” (the “Law”) will come into effect.

The Law envisages definitions of a “software application” and “software application owner”, as well as a special procedure for the suspension of access to software applications.

In the current edition of the Law, software applications are not defined. However, the diversity of approaches to the interpretation of the term “informational resource” causes difficulties among right holders when their rights are protected by a restriction of access to software applications containing pirate content. The new edition of Law is intended to eliminate the legal ambiguity that has been identified.

A software application is defined in the Law as a computer program providing access to copyright and/or related rights objects (except photographic works and another related works) in informational-telecommunication networks, including in the Internet, and access to the information that is necessary for obtaining such rights objects using informational-telecommunication networks.

The owner of a software application is defined as a party which independently and at its own discretion determines the procedure for using such software application.

According to the Law, a right holder has the right to apply, based on a judicial act, to the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (abbreviated in Russian as “Roskomnadzor”) with an application for a restriction of access to a software application and information violating copyright and/or related rights using the software application.

Within three working days Roskomnadzor   determines owner of the software application, the owner of the informational resource where the software application is hosted and/or the party that ensures its placement in informational-telecommunication networks, including in the Internet. Then, within the same timeline Roskomnadzor forwards an electronic notification in Russian and English about the violation of exclusive rights to copyright and/or related rights (except photographic works and another related works) where the following information is mentioned:

  • the name of the work, its author, and the right holder,
  • the name of the software application and/or the network address of the software application, the name of owner of the software application,
  • a brief description of the functionality of the software application and/or other information allowing the software application to be identified.

Within one business day from the moment when it receives the notification from Roskomnadzor, the owner of the informational resource where the software application is hosted or another party ensuring the placement of the software application is obliged to inform owner of software application about this and to notify the owner about the requirement to suspend immediately access to the copyright and/or related rights objects or  to information which is necessary for obtaining the objects using informational-telecommunication networks, distributed without the consent of the right holder or without another legal basis.

The owner of the software application is obliged to fulfil the requirement to suspend access to pirate content within one business day from when it receives the notification; otherwise, access to the software application will be restricted by the owner of the informational resource where the software application is hosted or by another party ensuring the placement of the software application within three business days from the moment when the owner of the software application receives the notification.

In the case of a failure to take the above actions to suspend access to the software application, information sufficient for taking such actions will be forwarded to the relevant telecom operator, which is then responsible for blocking the corresponding informational resource within one day.

The lifting of a restriction on access to a software application is undertaken in a similar manner on the basis of a judicial act.

In the light of the amendments mentioned above, owners of software applications should thoroughly oversee the compliance of information placed in a software application with the requirements of Russian legislation and should respond promptly to requests of right holders.

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